EFFECTIVE SYNOPSIS WRITING: HOW TO WRITE A GOOD SYNOPSIS: A DOLL’S HOUSE SAMPLE SYNOPSIS
A SYNOPSIS OF A DOLL’S HOUSE-A PLAY WRITTEN BY THE RENOWNED PLAYWRIGHT HENRIK IBSEN
The play, A Doll’s House is a modern tragedy set in the Victorian era a period characterized by the relegation of the crucial role that women play in a male-dominated (Patriarchal) society. Nora, Helmer’s wife is the protagonist of the play. She sacrifices a lot for the sake of her husband, Torvald Helmer but her efforts go unappreciated from the very person she stuck out her neck for.
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The drama opens with the introduction of a major conflict, Nora borrowing money -250 pounds fromNils Krogstad, a manipulative character behind her husband Torvald’s back. This makes her keep on spinning webs of lies one after the other to prevent her worst nightmare- Torvald finding out the truth about where Nora got the money for his treatment from. What prompts Nora’s actions is the fact that women were not allowed to borrow money without either their husband’s or a close male relative’s consent. This further heightens the conflict of the play since Nora was hence obliged to use unorthodox means to obtain the 250 pounds to facilitate the trip to the South (Italy) meant to save her husband’s life. The worst bit of the conflict is Nora forging her father’s signature to get the loan approved only for her to create an inconsistency-wrong date.
Torvald Helmer, her husband, on the other hand, has been promoted to the rank of manager and is to take up his new position after the New Year. Being a sententious and extremely self-centred man who is set in his ways, he is determined to lay off Nils Krogstad who is working as a clerk at the bank simply because he is too casual around him now that they went to the same high school. According to Helmer, Krogstad should refer to him using formal terms but he instead addresses him as if they are “equals.” Nora, Helmer’s wife finds this claim unfounded and rather immature. When she tries to speak out her mind regarding Krogstad’s impending dismissal, her husband Torvald who is also chauvinistic gets agitated and immediately dispatches Krogstad’s dismissal letter.
This action sets the pace for the rising action since Krogstad starts manipulating Nora to get reinstated at the bank. He even threatens to tell on Nora and expose her past crimes if she fails to wield her power over her husband, Torvald and make him change his mind. Nora’s failure to make things better for Nils Krogstad drives him to a point of desperation. He badly needs this job to reclaim his “lost glory” in a society that is rather too quick to pass harsh judgement regarding one’s character however slight the mistake may have been. Krogstad had forged someone’s name, a mistake that cost him his reputation and now that his sons are fully grown, he does not want to grease his hands again. He simply cannot stomach another dismissal since this job means a lot to him.
Krogstad, therefore, writes a letter to Helmer, revealing Nora’s secret to intimidate and manipulate him to reinstate him as a clerk or better still promote him to a higher position at the bank. He drops it in Helmer’s mailbox a thing which almost drives Nora nuts. Her attempts to delay Torvald’s reading of the letter such as pretending to have completely forgotten how to dance the Tarantella do not yield. Torvald finally discovers the truth and erupts angrily. He even threatens to disclaim Nora and deny her the chance of bringing up their three children for fear of “infecting them with lies” although she had done all this for him. He only minds about his reputation which is at stake now that Krogstad is likely to expose them.
The best dramatic twist occurs when Krogstad who has reconciled with Mrs Linde, his old-time lover who happens to be Nora’s friend has a change of heart and sends a letter telling Nora that he will not expose them. He even gives up the bond which is the only evidence he can use against her to justify his claims. This means that Nora is free of all the guilt.
Helmer, self-centred as ever preys on this chance to mend his broken relationship with Nora. However, it is too late since the revelation of her secret has made her realize that Torvald is not devoted to her but to the idea of her as someone who depends on him. She decides to abandon him and their three children-Ivar, Bob and Emmy to find her independence.